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'Senior' Prom

GinuwineGraduating to the next level musically was the creative momentum driving R&B artist Ginuwine while recording his fourth album, "The Senior," due this week from Epic. Case in point is the R. Kelly-written and -produced lead single/club anthem "Hell Yeah" featuring Baby. Describing "The Senior" as "edgier," Ginuwine says, "I wasn't trying to do what I did on my first or second album. As you grow, you learn and talk about different things. On every album you can see my growth."

Now on the other side of a painful period during which both parents passed within a year, Ginuwine embraces both familiar and new ground on "The Senior." "In Those Jeans" is a midtempo number akin to such early Ginuwine material as the 1996 No. 1 R&B hit "Pony," but it's "Locked Down," a story about a prisoner's regrets, that will catch many fans off-guard.

"I had a whole scenario of me going to a club, getting into a fight, making a mistake, and tragedy happens," Ginuwine says. "The result is I go to jail. I just wanted to sit down and write about it. That's one of the songs I'm most happy with."